Capital Developments and Metropia have submitted an application to the City of Toronto for their proposal to redevelop the lands on the southwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin Streets in the city's West End, currently home to a pair of school buildings. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects and Giannone Petricone Associates, with landscape architects gh3 and heritage specialists ERA Architects, the Bloor & Dufferin redevelopment would see the construction of 9 new buildings on the site ranging in height from 6 to 47 storeys, aiming to create a complete mixed-use community with residential, retail, office, and community spaces proposed. The existing historic Kent Senior Public School, currently home to the Toronto School of the Arts, would be largely retained and restored.
Last year, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) sought out development partners to propose a re-use for the 2.94-hectare site which currently contains two large school buildings—the Bloor Collegiate Institute and Alpha II Alternative School, and the former Kent Senior Public School—both of which the TDSB had determined to be surplus properties. The joint venture of Capital and Metropia, operating under the name Bloor Dufferin Development Limited Partnership, were selected as the successful proponents, and proceeded with an extensive public consultation process to help shape the design. Details contained within the documents of the recent OPA and rezoning application to the City reveal the full scope of the proposal.
The size of the site and its proximity to transit and other amenities lends itself to some staggering numbers: a total of 2,219 residential units are proposed, amounting to roughly 147,500 square metres of residential GFA, with 15,780 square metres of retail space, 4,900 square metres of office space, and roughly 2,800 square metres of community space included. A new public park is also proposed for the southwest corner of the site.
The development is divided into seven blocks, six of which contain buildings and one of which will contain the new public park. Two new north-south streets are proposed: a public street along the western edge of the site that would be an extension of Pauline Avenue, and a private street through the middle of the site that the design team has dubbed a new 'High Street'. The central High Street would be the main retail strip in the development, with the potential to be closed to vehicular traffic for special events. Pedestrianized east-west connections are proposed between each block.
Block A is located in the northwest corner of the site along Bloor Street stretching between the new public street and High Street, and contains two mixed use 11-storey towers atop a shared 6-storey podium. Building A1, to the west, rises 39.5 metres, while Building A2 to the east rises 40.5 metres. Their massing is stepped back in a series of terraces above the sixth floor, with a connecting wing linking the two buildings on the north side. Block A will contain a total of 218 residential units and roughly 7,200 square metres of retail space.
Directly to the south, Block B spans between the new public street and High Street and contains the two tallest towers of the proposal. The western tower, Building B1, tops off at 44 storeys at a height of 151 metres, while the eastern tower, Building B2, rises to 47 storeys at a height of 160 metres. Both towers sit atop a shared 8-storey podium. Block B will contain the highest residential unit count with 1,091 units, while roughly 1,600 square metres of space will be dedicated to retail. The Block A and Block B buildings are connected by a bridge on their eastern side spanning from the second to sixth floors, below which a laneway passes through the building.
The block to the south of Block B is earmarked for a new 3,580-square-metre public park, bordered by the new public street to the west, Croatia Street to the south, and the new High Street to the east.
Block C is located at the northeast corner of the site at the intersection of Bloor and Dufferin Streets, and contains a 7-storey building with a 30-storey tower at its eastern end. The west portion of the building, rising only 7 storeys at a height of 29 metres, is named Building C1, while Building C2 refers to the 30-storey 105.2-metre high tower at the east end. Block C contains a total of 379 residential units with 3,180 square metres of retail space. A two-storey high glassed-in atrium at the corner of Bloor and Dufferin leads to a second floor grocery store.
Directly to the south on Dufferin, Block D contains the Kent School building with an 11-storey addition at its rear. The historic three-storey Kent School will be largely retained and restored, while the addition will be constructed directly to the west. Block D will contain a total of 173 residential units with roughly 1,600 square metres of retail space and 610 square metres of office space included in the new addition. The Kent School is proposed to be converted into a potential 2,800-square-metre community hub located on the ground floor and basement levels, with roughly 2,700 square metres of office space located on the second and third floors.
Located at the southeast corner of the site at the intersection of Dufferin and Croatia Streets, Block E consists of a 25-storey 90.2-metre tower atop a 6-storey podium, with the tower situated toward the western side of the block along the new High Street. Block E will contain a total of 358 residential units, with roughly 1,850 square metres of retail space.
Finally, situated in the far northwest corner of the site on an irregularity in the rectangular property, Block F is located at the southwest corner of Bloor Street and the new public street, and contains a single 6-storey office building. The small site offers roughly 1,580 square metres of office space and 310 square metres of retail.
Overall, the development contains mainly one- and two-bedroom units, with about 54.5% of the total as one bedroom, 35.5% as two bedrooms, 7% as three bedrooms, and only 3% as bachelors. It should be noted that the count falls below the City's recommended 10% minimum share of three-bedroom units.
Also worth mentioning is the Brockton High School adjacent to the development site at the northeast corner of Croatia and Brock Streets which is also slated for redevelopment. In December 2016, the Government of Ontario announced $20-million for the construction of a new secondary school on the site of the former Brockton High School that will accommodate approximately 900 students. The funding also includes money for a new community hub of up to 30,000 square feet in size that will include a licensed child care centre and space for community programming. It is unclear whether this community hub is the one that will occupy the Kent School as part of the Bloor-Dufferin proposal, or if it refers to a second hub on the Brockton School site.
It is still early in the design process for the Bloor & Dufferin redevelopment, so there will likely be changes forthcoming to the proposal. We will keep you updated as the project evolves, but in the meantime, you can check out the database file for the project, linked below, and get in on the conversation by checking out the associated Forum thread or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.